The Swansea area has taken the initiative in training tomorrow’s workforce today by housing the headquarters of the Construction Wales Innovation Centre (CWIC) at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s, or UWTSD’s, Swansea Waterfront Innovation Quarter, located at SA1.
The CWIC is the brain child of the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and a consortium spearheaded by the UWTSD. The project is expected to have a total price tag of £6.5 million, with the headquarters alone accounting for £300 million. The rest of the cost will be invested in smaller sites at colleges across Wales, including Coleg Sir Gâr.
The project’s aim is to provide state of the art facilities and top notch training programs for construction companies and both experienced and aspiring contractors. The program will allow novel construction training methods to be trialed on a large scale, with a “rapid construction zone” located at the Swansea headquarters to test factors such as structural performance. It will be the first program in Britain to combine applied research, training, and consultancy under one partnership.
CWIC construction is expected to begin at the end of the year, with a grand opening timed to coincide with the school’s new waterfront campus in September of 2018. It should have the capacity to train 1,100 people each year.
Mark Bodger, strategic partnership director for CITB Wales, said: “The project will enable Wales to become a global leader in both digital and modern construction”.
Bodger also stated that the project will help the construction sector maintain older construction projects, such as traditional buildings and heritage sites. Professor Medwin Hughes, vice chancellor of the UWTSD, spoke of the benefits of the program not only to its immediate geographic region but to the whole of Wales. As his university continues to expand, he expects to announce additional partnerships in the coming months.
Further praise was provided by Gerald Naylor, the UWTSD’s project director, who stated that he was “looking forward” to helping the construction industry in Wales innovate a new model for learning vital skills. The CWIC will also deliver a new integration standard between the craft, trade, and professional construction fields across Wales for the very first time, according to Donna Griffiths, the CITB’s partnerships manager. Praise for the program has been coming in loud and clear from all sides.
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